To Step Into the Grayness

Yesterday morning I awoke to a torrential downpour. It was chilly, cloudy and gray, and raining like crazy. A day to curl up with a good book and sip a cup of cocoa, never mind that it’s mid-May.

IMG_4027With journal and Bible open before me, I scribbled the following: I feel like writing, but I don’t know what to say. Maybe I should just put down my pen and go wander in the rain.

And so I did.

IMG_4029Donning a less-than-rainproof jacket, I slipped outdoors, stepping into the grayness. No agenda other than to make my way back to the woods that beckoned, despite their somewhat dismal appearance.

With sound of pounding raindrops filling my ears, I intentionally ventured forth to wander aimlessly. Am I the only one who does this? I ask myself. Who in their right mind purposefully wanders through a heavy rain when all is warm and dry indoors? But I couldn’t not go. I couldn’t shake this desire, couldn’t deny the adventure of doing something nonsensical.

I do a lot of “not knowing” in this life. There are moments when I can measure productivity, but there are many more occasions when I can’t tell up from down. When I don’t know the reasoning or the answer — I simply hear the calling.

So into the grayness I go…

IMG_4030Not knowing the full purpose, yet answering the call to step out. Braving the rain. Venturing forth when the rest of the world is content to remain where it’s warm and dry, where settling down to wait out the downpour seems the best option. In restlessness, I rise to shake free.

Even when I don’t know what freedom holds.

Even when I’m not entirely sure what it is I’m searching for.

Even when I don’t like the answers I may discover along the way.

I move through the grayness, squishing and splashing through mud and puddles. One step after another. Looking without searching. Simply moving into the call. Following the longing for the unknown.

I melt into the mystery.

IMG_4031…and find life. Vibrant and lush. Life beyond the grayness. And within it.

IMG_4044Entwining with the holy. I cling to the hope that my faith is a cycle of conversions and transformations. I choose to believe and recognize God here — among the grayness and the greenness. Among the questions and uncertainties.

I choose hope. Here in the smallness of me and the largeness of Him.

IMG_4048Standing still, I find the beauty that bows in worship before its Creator. Through downpours of life, it offers itself. Bent, but not broken. Wilted, yet not crushed. Fragrant still, despite the storms of life.

I join with nature’s chorus and rejoice, astonished again by the wonder of the goodness of His hand outstretched on my behalf.

IMG_4052I worship through my noticing what lies beyond the grayness. A life overflowing with wonder and mercy; droplets turning to rivers of life for those who have eyes to see.

In the seeing, I breathe in grace and exhale thankfulness and dedicate myself anew to the Purposer of my heart.

IMG_4056Through rushing waters and blocked paths or open meadows and wide spaces, I lean into the knowing of what I do not know, and am content to call it faith. Grasping what it means to be made in His image more and more fully each day. Wondering and wandering, both pursuing and resting in His grace, and learning to press beyond the torrents to capture the beauty that is there. Waiting for me to step into the grayness…

I sink into the depths of knowing Him and being known.

Receiving the Mystery

I hunger for filling in a world that is starved. ~Ann Voskamp

These words ring true as they bounce and resonate within my heart and mind. I am consistently seeking to find fulfillment where empty is the offer of the day. And as I look around me, it is easy to see I live in the company of others who are searching for the other that is not. Seeking redemption where sin abounds. Looking for safe passage to escape this void of empty.

To find the other requires breaking away from this illusion of all.

It means my feet must intentionally turn from the too-easily-consuming ways of this world and run toward God’s tugging on my heartstrings, even when His pull seems less than gracious.

This path of faith and fulfillment is one that requires stepping into the air, past the veil of confinement, and free falling into the wonder and beauty of being caught up with His glory. His otherworldly grace that is mine for the capturing. But this stepping and falling first necessitates a turning of heart. A revolution from the deceptive notion that all there is… is all there is.

Contrary to what we are so easily tempted to believe, more is to be found beyond this world’s hem. God is full and overflowing, coming to starved soul with the Body and Bread of Life and living. But those who crave its flavor must reach out for it. With faith.

When God’s newly freed people, the Israelites, gathered manna in the wilderness, they were eating of a mystery. What made no sense in the realm of the earthly was sustaining them, nonetheless, as they were filled with the inexplicable. And though they may have wondered over the miracle of their provision, they accepted the mystery from the hand of God. And they were satisfied.

Thousands of years later, and the mystery remains. Like the Israelites, I, too, am given this priceless offering – to receive what I cannot comprehend. A way of living in fullness when all appears empty. To accept the mysterious portions of this life.

Those moments that make no earthly sense to finite mind. Those pains that tug me toward doubting His goodness. Those times when I ache to clench my fists against all the empty and simultaneously beat upon the chest of too much.

Those days when I’m tempted to trip on the baffling and fall against what I cannot understand instead of falling into the largeness of grace.

It is here I am given the invitation to open hands wide and receive the mystery – allowing it to pass through sifting fingers as I look to the One who holds all eternal solutions, even when He chooses not to share those solutions with me. Who sustains and satisfies me in the middle of the unknown as I embrace the unsolved while skydiving through the rush of empty and broken.

And in this leap of faith, I defy the world’s logic as I am encompassed and filled. Plunging past the empty, I breathe in His presence and come up grasping new life. Content to live with the mystery.

Satisfied to leave the answers in His care while I busy myself gathering this heavenly manna – the Bread of Life, broken for me. 

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The Mystery

Jesus,
You are
A paradox.
An enigma.
A mystery
I see in part
Tho’ I strain to view
The all.

Elusively playful,
Presenting more questions
Than answers.
So satisfyingly baffling,
Giving mere glimpses of the whole,
Leaving me yearning for more.
Pressing forward to piece together
The puzzling combinations of a God
Who completes me in every way,
Tho’ I am broken and powdered
As the dust from whence I came.

Seeing dimly,
I strain to view
The One who knows me fully
Yet invites me still to “Come.”
Open handed, You hold me tightly.
With gentleness, You love me fiercely.
Capturing my heart, You set me free
To walk in liberty by Your side.
Held firmly, yet released
To dance upon the heights,
I run with abandon in broad places.

You invite me to dinner
In the center of the battlefield.
Surrounded by foes,
Yet fully safe in Your care,
I am garrisoned and loosed
With the same spark
Of redeeming love that
Ignited my soul at the foot
Of a blood-stained cross.
With dying breath,
You give me life.
And as I die,
I too can live
This life of Mystery.

Hands placing last piece of a Puzzle